I’m a letter-writer. I spend every Monday morning writing letters to my representatives in DC, and I spend about the same amount of time calling their offices, leaving messages and talking to staff.
I realize that’s not nearly as cool as making a bold, public statement about “being done with writing letters,” but I can guarantee you I’m getting more communication than those who have decided it was a futile effort, and are going to get a “whole bunch of people to show up in Washington for a protest.” Good luck with that. I think any of us who have been around for more than a minute knows how it will go.
We’ve been asked to participate in six different shut-downs in the six years I’ve been writing this blog, and not one of them was ever pulled off. I’m not saying it’s not going to happen this time. I’m saying, judging from past experience, writing letters has had a lot more effect than failed calls for protest.
Senator Rob Portman’s office is very familiar with me. They have been exemplary in responding and keeping an open line of communication with me. I’m not nuts about Portman or his politics, but I adhere to the Rolling Stones wisdom of “you can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you get what you need.” Portman and I have a nice little truce, and I believe the guy might even have a heart somewhere beneath that somber suit her wears.
Then there’s Mike Turner.
Turner is our Congressman. I’ve been sending very detailed letters to him since Rep. Babin (R-Texas) introduced the ELD delay (H.R. 3282) in July of this year. In an effort to be as thorough as possible in my communications with him and his staff, I attached the language of the bill and a link to it in each and every letter I’ve sent. I’ve explained in detail the number of independent owner-operators who will be affected by the law. I’ve gone into great detail about the number of exemptions already asked for, and the reason the law is going to become extremely difficult for LEO to enforce, due to the extensive number of exemptions. I’ve gone over the money issue, I’ve sent him documents compiled for OOIDA on cost-effectiveness, I’ve given as much information as I could gather to him and his staff. I did my job as a constituent.
After three months of communication with his office, I finally got a letter in the mail from them yesterday.
You ever read something and immediately become Yosemite Sam? You start jumping up and down and yelling, “That rassa frassin’ igit-hole rabbit!!” You don’t? Well I do, and I did yesterday when I read the letter.
I’m attaching a picture (see above), because I’ll be damned if I type out the language of that bill again in an effort to help Mike Turner. The letter basically said, “Here’s the language of the bill you’ve already sent us umpteen billion times, just in case you weren’t aware. It’s interesting. We’ll follow the progress of it.”HELLO, MIKE: Do you understand there will be no progress without some support, and that is why I take the time I do to write you letters about it? Where in this equation does writing me a letter that says exactly the same thing I’ve been telling you for three months equal “communication?” Is there some sort of crayon drawing I can make for you to help this information settle in? I mean, you’re really hot to talk when it comes time for re-election, but getting your ear afterward seems to be some sort of Orwellian quest I was unprepared for.
Duly noted, Mike. I have your letter posted in my office to remind me of who I will absolutely not vote for, ever again. I’m not walking out on trucking, I’m walking out on you, brother. It’s definitely you, not me, and maybe we can be friends when it’s all over, but I’m not feeling it right now, and I want all the other truckers in your constituency to know it. This isn’t some strip club on Keowee Street asking for a break in liquor laws, this is trucking, sir, and truckers move America. We deserve your attention in these matters, and expect a little more from the people we send to Washington.
You can do better, Mike. Today is your day to shine for the trucking industry. Get on board with the delay, get involved in fixing what is broken about the mandate, and help the people who make your life livable continue to make a livable wage. It’s your job. Do it.